Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to blur the daily lines between our physical and digital worlds. This move forward is commonly referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and was a hot topic at this year’s Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco, as wireless connectivity is at the heart of it all.
The World Economic Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab, describes the significance of 4IR by stating, “We are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another.” He notes that “It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”
For a little background, consider the first three industrial revolutions:
As we continue to live in a world where everything is connected and has the potential to extract valuable data, the IoT is becoming a necessary toolset to remain competitive. The 4IR presents tremendous opportunities for businesses of every type to increase efficiencies, improve communications, enhance precision and even save lives. Consumers control their home and car functions from smartphones, healthcare providers check patients via mHealth devices, and fleet managers keep drivers safe and efficient from the other side of the world. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Among the key necessities to compete in the 4IR, businesses will need to have a clear vision of their goals and the ability to react to disruptive change. The current pace of technological development is exponential and has no historical precedent. It is an environment for which organizations in the first three industrial revolutions did not have to plan. Back then, technology advancements took time, and innovative systems remained in place for a long, long time. Not any more – here today, gone tomorrow is now the pace in 4IR.
But even if businesses can dynamically adjust their tactics to stay ahead of the curve, plans are only as effective as the assets necessary to drive them. Hardware, software, support, and always-on, secure, managed wireless connectivity to help users blend their digital and physical worlds seamlessly, are treated just as importantly as blueprints. Even the most nimble businesses struggle to fully design and implement new innovations before they are obsoleted by a competitor. The time to adapt and adopt is so limited, that businesses must be ever-ready to adjust with the technology necessary to keep them relevant.
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